Thursday, January 29, 2009

All the SF writing advice you could ever want

bookcaseImage by B_Zedan via Flickr

The awesome gang over at SFSignal have put together probably their best Mind Meld column to date, offering up writing advice from over a dozen published and professional science fiction writers and editors. It has some great advice, including how to embrace hate mail, where Robert A. Heinlein was wrong, and exactly what it is that HarperCollins' new SF imprint is looking for. For the sake of example, we give you this paraphrased list from just one of the contributors, author Matt Hughes:
  1. Leave out the passages that readers love to skip. (Those would be the ones you worked hardest on).
  2. Never open a book by describing the weather.
  3. Never open a book with a prologue. They are usually boring.
  4. Never describe the physical appearance of a character with details that the reader will soon forget.
  5. Use exclamation points sparingly.
  6. Never use another verb instead of "said."
  7. Never use an adverb to modify "said." The tone of the dialogue should be contained within the dialogue itself.
  8. Never use a colon or semi-colon in dialogue.
  9. Don't change your writing for the critics who know nothing about writing.
  10. Tell the editor not to let the copy-editor mess with your punctuation.
Now go one, get to reading the whole thing.
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